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Media Release

14 June, 2007

Disruption of Northpine Primary School by strikers

Statement by Cameron Dugmore, MEC for Education in the Western Cape

I was informed by the principal of Northpine Primary School that more than 100 teachers in several buses and cars arrived at the gates of his school this morning, demanding access to the premises.

The principal said he opened the gates to prevent it from being damaged. Some strikers then continued to invade at least three classrooms, causing chaos, intimidating teachers and traumatising learners. My office received a call from a parent, who was highly upset at the fact that his child came home crying, explaining what had happened at school.

It appears that some strikers are targeting schools where exams are scheduled to take place. Clearly this is going to lead to increased tension and conflict.

It is shocking, totally unwarranted and I want to condemn the behaviour of the teachers in the strongest possible terms. I have a duty to protect the learners and teachers, and will be consulting with the department about measures to beef up security at those schools under threat.

I have also informed the provincial leadership of the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) of the actions of their members.

I want to reiterate that we acknowledge the right of teachers to strike, but similarly, teachers and learners who do not want to participate in industrial action, also have a right to be in school and continue with lessons and exams, without fear of intimidation.

It is completely unacceptable for anyone to traumatise young children in this way, and use the industrial action as justification for invading schools and disrupting classrooms.

Bomb scare hoax

In a separate incident early this morning, the school premises of the Eben Donges High School in Kraaifontein had to be evacuated when a bomb scare was reported.

Police arrived at the scene and police dogs combed the building for explosives. It turned out to be a hoax. After an hour the situation was declared safe and the children went back to class and exams were conducted.

For enquiries, contact Gert Witbooi:  082 550 3938, or gwitbooi@pgwc.gov.za.


Issued by:
Gert Witbooi
Media Liaison Officer
Office of the MEC for Education
Western Cape
Tel: 021 467 2523
Fax: 021 425 5689

Visit our website: http://wced.wcape.gov.za

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2007 WCED